Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years? Overcoming the Challenge of Looking into the Future

Remote hiring

One of the most common questions asked during an interview is: Where do you see yourself in five years? Hiring managers often ask this question to gain a better understanding of candidates’ future goals and how these goals align with an available position. This question, when asked, can be intimidating and daunting because you do not necessarily know what you will be doing or where you will end up in the future, but do not let this question discourage you! Even if you are not clear on your plans for the future, being prepared to answer this question or similar questions about the future will set you up for success in any interview!


Why is this question asked?

  • To see if you’re in it for the long haul – The length of time an employee will stay in a position varies depending on the job. Companies want employees who are going to stick around, not jump ship as soon as a better offer comes along. This is because the company will have less turnover and turnover related expenses. If you cannot see yourself in the position or with the company for the next few years, the employer will want to know this before they decide to hire you.
  • To see if your goals match up with what employer is able to offer – Employers want to know up front if your goals align with the available position. If you have interest in working your way up in the company over the next few years or transferring to a new position in another department, you will want to know if that is an option available to you with that particular company. Hearing your goals for the future will help the employer determine if you would be a good fit for the long term and if it would help you achieve your professional goals.
  • To evaluate your drive and ambition – Planning for the future is very difficult, especially if you are just entering the workforce. Despite this difficulty, employers want to hire candidates who have an idea of how they want to progress in their career. It is important to have some sense of where you want to end up in the future and what your goals are within the available position.
  • To see your level of interest in the position – Employers want to know if your interests align with the available position. Gathering an understanding of your interests can help an employer determine how you, if hired, would contribute to the company in the short term and the long term and if the position would ultimately give you a fulfilling experience. 

How to answer this question:

  • Be clear about your career goals – Take time to brainstorm what your career goals are for the next five years. What skills do you want to develop? Do you want to move up in the company? Do you want to work in a particular industry? Make a list of these goals and aspirations while also considering what you want to see on your resume in five years.
  • Find connections between goals and job description – Be sure to review the job description very closely before you go into the interview. Think about the required skills you already have, those you would like to strengthen, and those you would like to gain in the position. Taking time to consider these traits will allow you to relate your career goals with the available position.
  • Ask yourself if the company can prepare you for your career goals – Be honest with yourself. If the company cannot help you get to where you want to be, you may want to reconsider interviewing for the position or let the employer know you cannot see yourself there for the next five years. Otherwise, go into that interview and explain how you think the company and the position will help you get closer to achieving your goals over the next five years!

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Annika Wanger is a Junior at Butler University studying Marketing, Applied Business Technology, and Data Science. She is currently interning in Singapore for Interviewer.AI during the summer of 2022. Besides work, she is very interested in traveling, reading, and cooking for family and friends as hobbies.

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